In the gospel stories we see people who follow Jesus. There are the fishermen who leave their nets and the tax collector who leaves his job. There are countless people in the crowds that follow him to hear his message, even so far as walking all the way round the sea of Galilee when he went across it in a boat. Those people gave no thought to where their next meal was coming from but we read (in the story of the feeding of the five thousand) how God fed them. But what about those for whom the cost of following was too much?

On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said. Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.” Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.” Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” Luke 9:57-60 (The Message)

Homelessness in order to follow Jesus is not something we often consider. Some, in this day and age, may move from one place to another, one continent to another, in order to follow Jesus. Leaving home and having no other is not something we think about though. The prospect of leaving home, letting down our family and friends, forsaking all so that we might be in the company of Jesus isn’t comfortable but it is needed. Even if it is simply our spiritual attitude of putting nothing and no one before our call to follow him maybe it is something that will benefit us. Empathy with those who have left house and family because of issues affecting homelessness can be ours if we will let go of our expectation of comfort and embrace the call of Christ. Leaving all only counts if we look to the person we left it for, looking to the person we are called to follow then makes our material comfort a secondary concern at best.

Jesus I hear your call to leave all behind and follow you. Let my affections and my priorities be to face forward and follow in the way you want. Create in me empathy with those who have no home or family so that together we can unite in the community of faith in you. Amen.